Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1821, was born Elizabeth Blackwell. 

Blackwell was the first woman doctor of modern times. She was the first woman to gain the M.D. degree.  

Blackwell was the daughter of a prosperous sugar refiner in Bristol who had the means to educate both his sons and daughters. The Blackwell family moved to New York to establish a new refinery where Blackwell received improvised medical education from Samuel Dickenson of Charlestown Medical College. Blackwell applied to medical colleges but was turned down by them all. She made a second spell of applications including one to Geneva Medical College, New York, who thinking her application to be a hoax, accepted in a droll manner. Despite the obstacles and prejudices set against her, Blackwell graduated at the top of her class. 

Blackwell was excluded from practicing at major hospitals and so founded her own organization, The New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, an institution staffed entirely by women.  In 1869, Blackwell moved to London, where, together with Florence Nightingale, she founded The London School of Medicine for Women. 

Blackwell is credited with writing the first sex education guide, The Moral Education of the Young, a publication, which caused more disquiet in Victorian Britain than the idea of a lady doctor. 

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